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What are some useful catch-and-release techniques?

One way to release a fish if it is not exhausted is to release it like a torpedo, nose first. This allows the water to pass over the gills. When placing the fish in the water after a lengthy retrieve, hold it by the tail and softly swish the fish left to right until the fish responds. Never pull a fish back and forth as water will not pass over the gills properly and can actually do more harm.

What do I do if I want to release the fish but the hook is set too deeply?

If the hook is set too deeply, sometimes trying to get it out will do so much harm to the fish that it will die upon release. Instead, it's better to cut the line and leave the hook in the fish and release it. A fish’s body has an enzyme that will dissolve a hook within a week or less. Sometimes the fish will be able to get the hook out on its own when released. 

How do I "walk the dog" when using a surface lure?

A popular fishing technique. Cast out the lure and keep the rod almost horizontal with the water. Twitch the rod tip down towards the water and lift again horizontal. As you twitch, take up the slack. The slower the bait is worked the wider it will walk. With increased speed the lure will move back and forth erratically and mimic a fleeing bait fish or a wounded fish. Pay attention to how the fish responds to the sped you are presenting. Sometimes you may have to stop altogether for a few seconds to get a fish to take hold.

What are some things to keep in mind when fishing from a bank or pier?

Look for pier locations that offer quick access to deeper water. In terms of fishing from the banks of a river or lake system, search out locations with potential fish-holding cover such as weeds, submerged timber, rocks or boulders and some of the best locations offer a mix of all of the above. 

How do I detect when a fish is biting?

Depending upon the mood and how active the fish are, the feel of a bass bite can range from arm jolting when throwing spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or crankbaits, to a soft subtle sponge feeling on the end of your line when using soft plastics like tube jigs, worms or creature baits. Many times your line will "jump or twitch" slightly signaling a bite, other times, your line will just be moving ever so slowly to the left or right, reel up any slack line and set that hook and let the fun begin.

How do I become a professional angler?

There is no single path to becoming a professional angler, but there are some helpful steps you can take. Begin by entering in as many amateur tournaments as you can. Become a co-angler and fish alongside other pros to pick up tips and experience. After getting some experience and tournament wins, try and gain some sponsors to help with the costs of hardware and traveling to different competitions. Anglers are often approached by the sponsors, but before getting to that point you'll have to submit resumes and call companies directly. Target the species you want to specialize in and learn everything you can about them: not just popular fishing strategies and tackle, but swimming, feeding, and mating patterns as well. The more you know, the more you'll catch. Most importantly, you'll need to enjoy fishing beyond just a hobby, but at the same time realize it is a business. Becoming a professional angler is a full-time job, so having that money to support your dream is crucial.

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